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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Meet Rukhmabai Raut, the star of today's Google Doodle

Meet Rukhmabai Raut, the star of today's Google Doodle

November 22, 2017 08:15 IST

The child bride became one of the first women to practice medicine in colonial India.

Rukhmabai Raut

The Google Doodle by illustrator Shreya Gupta shows the courageous Dr Rukhmabai Raut 'among her patients, doing the dedicated work of a skilled physician.'

 

At first glance it seems that Dr Rukhmabai Raut's claim to fame is that she was one of the first women to practice medicine in colonial India. But read on and you begin to grasp the scope and importance of the role she played in the movement to empower Indian women.

Celebrating this trailblazer with a Google Doodle on her 153rd birthday, Google notes, 'Married at age 11 to a 19-year-old groom chosen by her mother, Raut refused to live with her husband, winding up at the center of one of India's most famous 19th-century court cases. Her bravery in defying contemporary Indian social customs attracted scrutiny in the British press and led to the passage of the Age of Consent Act in 1891.'

 

Rukhmabai Raut

Dr Rukhmabai Raut was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1864.
Her story has been told on screen by actress Tannishtha Chatterjee in the titular role.

 

Along with battling personal demons, fighting to stamp out child marriage in Indian society, Raut also studied medicine.

Google notes, 'Backed by the British director of Bombay's Cama Hospital, suffrage activists, and other supporters, Raut set off in 1889 for the the London School of Medicine for Women and obtained her qualifications at Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Brussels.

'She then joined a hospital in Surat, serving as chief medical officer the next 35 years.'

Interestingly, Dr Raut shares her birthday -- though five years apart -- with Cecilia Grierson, the first woman to receive a medical degree in Argentina.

Rediff Get Ahead Bureau in Mumbai